The 3rd Cranbrook Video Festival – ‘Family’

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The third Cranbrook Video Festival took place on Saturday 17th February at 12 o’clock in the Crane Surgery, Cranbrook, Kent. This year the theme of the festival was ‘Family’.

Contributors came from the USA, Belgium and Russia as well as the UK. There were animations, dramas, documentaries and experimental films, from both amateurs and professional film-makers.

The theme of the festival this year was ‘Family’. This grew out of the theme of last year’s festival, ‘Wellbeing’. Family turned out to be the thing most people thought of as essential to their wellbeing: but some of the films in this year’s lineup showed the negative aspects of family, as well as the positives. ‘Voicing Silence’ by Lucy Lee is about child abuse, a how hard it is for the victims of abuse to speak out about their experiences. ‘Lint People’ by Helder K Sun is a Freudian comedy-animation about a community of creatures made out of fluff, in which the father-figure is always trying to devour his own children.

The first half of the show was taken up by a screening of my own feature-length puppet-animation ‘Dr Hairy and the QCQ’. I was a bit worried that ninety minutes it might be too long for an audience unfamiliar with my style, but in fact it seemed to go down very well and got some big laughs. Of the other animations in the show, the one that seemed to make the biggest impression on people was the very beautiful ‘My Strange Grandfather’ by the Russian film-maker Dina Velikovskaya; and of the acted films, the standout was probably ‘Brian and Charles’, directed by Jim Archer, written by and starring David Earl and Chris Hayward – an oddly touching comedy about a lonely man’s love-hate relationship with his pet robot. A special mention should also go to the mini-documentary ‘The Reinvention of Normal’ by Liam St Pierre, a brilliantly original mixture of animation and ‘real-life’ footage about the inventor/artist Dominic Wilcox and his ideas.

As with previous festivals, one of the highlights was to have one of the contributors there – Jenni Cresswell, a textile artist from Brighton, who presented her own video, ‘Bound Together’, about a book that was passed on to her by her mother.

The standard of contributions in the festival is definitely getting higher year-on-year, which makes it a very exciting thing to be part of.

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